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Challenge Accepted: Poker Players Support the Ice Bucket Campaign

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The charitable campaign has attracted the attention of millions of people, including celebrities and professional poker players.

What started out as a special campaign to raise funds for research Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) quickly became a craze among social media users. Now thousands of people – including movie stars, athletes and even professional poker players – are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for the disease that affected people like Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking.

Apart from being an excellent way to promote themselves on Facebook, Twitter and in international gambling news while contributing to a charitable cause, participating in the campaign will probably help improve the image of the poker community.

Many of professional players have donated a large part of their winnings for a good cause, and the time has come for to show the world that they are more than just eccentric gamblers who refuse to get a regular job.

Poker community joins the fun

The list of sports personalities who have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge includes:

•David Beckham
•Kobe Bryant
•Chris Evert
•LeBron James

The Ice Bucket Challenge is pretty much self-explanatory. All those who are challenged to take part in it have to record themselves while pouring a bucket of ice cold water on their heads, and then pass it on to a friend or family member. Sports personalities and famous people all over the world have accepted the challenge and ended up donating generous amounts of money for the cause.

Starting with World Poker Tour president Adam Pliska, the World Series of Poker media director Nolan Dalla, and Todd Anderson of Poker Night in America, the list of celebrities who have taken part in the Ice Bucket Challenge includes a few of the best players we’ve seen in international tournaments or in American poker rooms.

Phil Hellmuth, who won 13 WSOP bracelets, was the first player to join the campaign, after Dalla challenged him. The poker pro took it pretty well and called out Ty Stewart, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu to do the same.

Esfandiari bravely accepted and allowed his friends to pour a total of three buckets of ice water poured over his head.

Who will be next?

Those who are following the poker community on social media websites could also see World Poker Tour Alpha8 commentator Ali Nejad and presenter Lynn Gilmartin posting their own videos; but the “virus” is quickly spreading among poker celebrities, and Dan Bilzerian and Fatima Moreira de Melo caught it too.

More poker players are accepted to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge soon, including Canadian-Romanian pro Daniel Negreanu, who has already donated a significant amount of money to charitable causes. Meanwhile, Esfandiari also challenged Olympic champion Michael Phelps and professional poker player Jeff Gross.

While the list grows, supporters of the campaign are starting to look up to these players and to appreciate their charitable contributions. Poker fans are hoping that big names like Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey will soon follow their example.

Donating for a good cause

But it’s not just world-famous players who have donated to the campaign. One poker blog wrote about a special player named Gal Sont, who is confined to a wheelchair after being diagnosed with ALS five years ago. Unlike the famous poker pros mentioned before Gal is just a recreational player who enjoys the game and plays it just for fun. He bravely accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge a few days ago.

It is a well-known fact that many poker players donate some of their winnings to charity. During this WSOP alone, the One Drop Foundation formed by Guy Laliberte managed to raise more than $5 million in the famous event’s charitable tournament.

Matt Stout, another professional player, inaugurated his Charity Series of Poker event last month. The tournament was held at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Igor Kurganov’s Raising for Effective Giving is another charitable event that invites poker players to donate 2% of their overall quarterly profit to specific causes.

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